Meat + Poultry - June 2016 - (Page 8)

C O M M E N TA R Y The wage wedge Having returned from nearly two weeks in Germany visiting customers and attending IFFA, one of the many take-away themes was the continued emphasis among suppliers on developing even more applications for automation. Another, somewhat related, mantra was the universal issue of labor concerns; including recruiting, retaining, training and the rising cost of maintaining employees among the supplier segment of the industry as well as in processing plants across the globe. One major supplier of packaging supplies and equipment is expanding its manufacturing operations by building a multi-million euro plant in Bulgaria, primarily because of the availability and lower cost of labor there and the challenge of hiring affordable, willing-to-work prospective employees in the labor pool in and around Germany. This comes at a time when, in the US, there is a groundswell As employers of support among labor in the groups pressuring employers foodservice in the foodservice and retail segments to increase wages industry paid to workers. These groups, are forced including the Fight for $15, have to increase successfully lobbied and organized nationwide workplace walkouts hourly wages, something has and orchestrated protests that have resulted in several states, got to give, including New York and California to raise minimum wages as high as and it is. $15 per hour. This all came full circle while returning home from Germany, during a layover in New York's La Guardia Airport. It wasn't the first time I've seen iPads used in place of traditional menus, diminishing the reliance on labor, presumably in the name of convenience. It was, however, the first time I realized real-life affirmation of 8 MEAT+ POULTRY | 06.16 | www.meatpoultry.com my long-held premise that eventually, as employers in the foodservice industry are forced to increase hourly wages, something would have to give. It makes sense that the industry would respond and that cutting its labor costs is a logical target. Dining at what appeared to be a traditional restaurant in one of the aging airport's terminals, I was quickly poured a glass of water and given a 10-second introduction to my electronic waiter, sommelier and cashier. In a series of touches and swipes on the iPad my entrée and drink were ordered and paid for in a matter of seconds, with practically no human interaction, which obviously means a more efficient and cost-effective operation. While waiting and hoping my "swipe-and-touch" meal was being prepared, I noticed several kiosk-style bars in the terminal where road-weary travelers could belly up to an iPad-hosted bar to order their favorite libation. Wthout any human interaction, the two bartenders frantically worked behind a counter, filling orders from a printer that kept them pouring drinks and quickly delivering them to the seat number on the receipt. Right about then, a random person toting a plate of food and reading a receipt to figure out where my order should be delivered, emerged from the masses of travelers toting Samsonites and slid the plate on my table, without the need for eye contact or conversation. Suddenly the benefits I'd heard for the past two weeks from many automation-centric equipment company representatives began echoing in my head: Automation and robots eliminate sick days, save companies money on benefits, ensure consistency, improve food safety, etc... It's a fine line that is navigated between different segments of the food industry when it comes to the efficiency and cost savings that is realized with state-of-the-art technology and the human touch that offers the intangible benefit at many different levels. I think the writing is on the wall and while there will always be a place for traditional, labor-intensive operations in the food industry, the New World Order includes a lot more touchscreens and finger swipings and much less reliance on face-to-face interaction and the human touch. J O E L C R E WS, E D I TO R | j c r e w s @ s o s l a n d.c o m http://www.meatpoultry.com

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Meat + Poultry - June 2016

Meat + Poultry - June 2016
CONTENTS
COMMENTARY - The wage wedge
BUSINESS NOTES - TYSON POSTS RECORD Q2 PERFORMANCE
HORMEL RAISES GUIDANCE ON Q2 PERFORMANCE, ACQUIRES JUSTIN’S
JBS SWINGS TO Q1 LOSS
EPIC PROVISIONS LAUNCHES NEW LINE OF MEAT BAR
CAGE-FREE TO RULE AT DAIRY QUEEN
OLYMEL TO EXPAND PRIMARY POULTRY PLANT
CARGILL TO STAY IN WICHITA
WASHINGTON - Food safety action
BARBECUE REPORT - Barbecue friends
FOODSERVICE - Smokin' success
EDUCATION - TEXAS BARBECUE at the head of the class
RESTAURANT REPORT - THE BBQ TRAVELER
PACKAGING SOLUTIONS - 'Bone' appetit
INGREDIENT ISSUES - Flavor infusion
SMOKY FLAVOR TOPS THE CHARTS
SMALL BUSINESS MATTERS - Meat snack marvel
SMALL BUSINESS LEADER - Checking in with the chick
COVER STORY - Preferential processsing
MARKET REPORT - Traditional innovation
FOOD SAFETY - Packer perspective
PROCESSOR PROFILE - Embracing meat snacking
CONVENTION PREVIEW - AAMPed up in Omaha
FROM THE CORRAL - Cage-free caveats
SHOWCASE
NAMES IN THE NEWS
CLASSIFIEDS
ADVERTISERS
THE INSIDER

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